Crime - Sacto 911

Wrong-way driver fleeing deputies on I-5 causes major crash, 2 deaths

A major collision that closed all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 on Saturday morning near Richards Boulevard was caused by a wrong-way driver fleeing Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputies, the California Highway Patrol reported

The collision killed two men in a red Toyota Sienna that was being chased by deputies. The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office identified the men as George Cooper, 26, of Sacramento and Dwayne Zachary, 29, whose city of residence wasn’t given.

A truck driver involved in the incident was taken to a hospital with major injuries, said Michael Bradley, CHP spokesman. The highway was reopened about 11:30 a.m., Bradley said.

The Sacramento Fire Department initially reported the collision at 8:07 a.m. in a department tweet.

BOOKMARK: See current Sacramento traffic

The chase between the driver of a red Toyota Sienna and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputies began about 7 a.m. near El Camino Avenue and the Capital City Freeway when officers ran the vehicle’s license plate and found that it was reported as a stolen vehicle.

“Unfortunately, the vehicle failed to yield to the lights and sirens, and a pursuit entailed into the downtown area,” Bradley said.

The car eventually entered J Street, heading opposite of the traffic flow on the one-way street. Because of safety concerns, officers terminated the pursuit, Bradley said. The Toyota Sienna then got onto Interstate 5 using the J Street offramp and started driving northbound on the southbound side of the highway.

The vehicle went roughly a half mile before colliding with a box truck, Bradley said.

By about 10:30 a.m., the wrecked van was strapped onto the back of a tow truck as cleanup crews continued to clear chunks of metal off the freeway.

The Sacramento CHP will handle an investigation into the collision, Bradley said.

Bradley urged anyone who has information about the collision to contact CHP at 916-861-1300.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets